JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Most athletes are typically good at one sport, two if they’re lucky. One 8-year-old from Johns Creek is breaking that notion by not only showing interest, but dominating in four sports.
Football. Basketball. Soccer. Baseball. James Tyre, a second-grader at Barnwell Elementary School, plays and excels in each.
How well does Tyre excel? He was voted the most valuable player for his soccer team, his football team and voted player of the year for his basketball league. He whiffed on baseball, but that has more to do with his switching from that sport in spring to soccer.
James’ mother, Andrea Tyre, is proud just like any other parent would be.
“Anytime he gets involved he’s always encouraging the other kids,” she said.
James has always been self-motivated. At an even younger age, that helped him succeed in multiple sports.
“He’s coachable. You tell him to do something, you show it to him, and he does it. And then he encourages everybody else to do it,” said Tyre.
But his superb reputation goes beyond motherly love. James’ basketball coach Sedrick Blake wasn’t afraid to put him on his team that had players one to two years older than him.
“He is younger than everybody but he was the best individual player on that team. He is a phenomenal little player. He’s within the top 5 percent of any kids I’ve ever had the fortune to work with,” said Blake.
Blake also wasn’t afraid that James’ size would hinder his team.
“When you talk about the game of basketball, being short can be a handicap, but he makes up for it. Even though there are kids in the league two feet taller than him, he would still compete with them for rebounds,” said Blake.
His determination helped James secure the title of Player of the Year for his basketball league.
“He was voted Player of the Year because he can shoot. There were a few games where you would look up at the scoreboard and we’d have 20 points and he had scored 15 of them,” said Blake.
Being younger than the other players didn’t put Tyre at a disadvantage. His maturity level was around the same as the others and he kept going when other kids his age typically get upset.
“He was as focused as the other kids. During the game, he was our point guard and he would always look over to the bench to see what I wanted him to do. And whatever I told him to do, he executed,” said Blake.
“He was usually our high scorer, and he was a tough kid. He’d get knocked down, cry a little bit and then get right back out. He’d never back down from a challenge.”
In baseball this season, James finished off the season with a spectacular unassisted triple play, according to his dad, Dan Tyre. James’ team, the Tigers, were in the Ocee Park American League championship game. Although the Tigers lost, his dad said James ended a bases loaded threat when at shortstop he snagged a liner for one out, moving right, stepped on third for the second out and then ran all the way to first base to beat that runner for the triple.
“They were calling him little Chipper after that,” his father said.
James’ mother makes sure that her son still gets to enjoy some childhood experiences outside of competition.
“He’s still being a kid, but going that extra mile sometimes,” she said. “For an 8-year-old, it’s just different.”